Good quality hay is required to support stock recovery in areas where flooding impacted pasture supply. Sales are expected to increase as donations and Departmental emergency fodder drops fall.
The bureau of meteorology has reported La Nina is continuing although it is expected to weaken. There have been some reasonable falls across some cropping areas and confidence amongst those growers that the break has arrived. Other regions are still waiting for rain after little to any summer rainfall.
Current high forward contract prices for canola and wheat, with firming prices for barley and hopes of increased pulse sales into India will mean hay may be removed from cropping schedules so supply is expected to tighten over the coming months.
Despite a 20-cent reduction in fuel excise helping to reduce fuel costs some transport companies will continue to apply the 5 – 10% fuel levy. Some hay growers, who deliver locally, have indicated that due to ongoing high fuel costs cartage fees of up to 50 cents per kilometre or will apply a fuel surcharge of up to 10%, to cover increased fuel costs.
Input costs continue to impact cropping decisions as grain and fodder producers prepare for sowing. Opportunistic hay production will not be seen as a price competitive cropping option, so expect a smaller number of hectares to be sown this season. Pasture hay may not be a priority for fertiliser application which may reduce quantities produced this season.
There is increasing demand for good quality cereal hay and vetch hay. However, supplies of both are low. Lucerne prices are slowly rising as it is being purchased to fill the protein gap. Supplies are expected to tighten as the season progresses.
Driving Prices Down
Recent rainfall and mild weather had boosted pasture growth. Many growers in the southern states continue to be confident ryegrasses and other pasture growth will support stock without need for supplementary feed over coming months.
Varied qualities of fodder are available on the market. Growers with lower grade hay, particularly hay stacked outside are expected to actively trade this in the coming months.
The quality of new season hay was impacted by continuing rain events across most states. Rainfall has meant many crops were harvested later than usual, resulting in coarser hay of lower quality.
Some areas have received good rainfall which has built confidence at the start of sowing. Some dry sowing has commenced in other regions with reliance on subsoil moisture and hope forecast rains fall in coming weeks. Dry conditions and high input costs will impact cropping decisions.
In other regions the continued availability of pasture, where growth has been supported by rainfall and warm weather, will maintain the tradition of a slow Autumn market for fodder however, fodder stocks are running low in some areas so it is expected that those who like to have fodder on hand will seek to purchase hay in coming weeks.
Lack of rain in southwest Victoria, and some parts of South Australia and Tasmania, are driving some early enquiries from those looking to secure feed allotments for winter.
Buyers are encouraged to feed test and view fodder before purchasing to be sure of the quality of the feed.